Seems Oreskes et al. are not figuring out what the lesson is to be learned here. They continue to file Friends of the Court blunders in boilerplate copy fashion supporting various “Exxon Knew”-style cases, repeating their same blunders they had in their first one, e.g., what I term ye olde “reposition global warming” leaked industry memos evidence, which are the same worthless, never implemented memos the lawsuits themselves are enslaved to – in boilerplate copy fashion, e.g. the Hawaiian pair – as cornerstone evidence of “fossil fuel industry-led public disinformation campaigns. So, I’ve created a new tag category just for these situations, “Oreskes et al. amici filings.”
Meanwhile, let’s briefly run through the most damaging highlights in this latest April 7, 2023 Washington DC version, similar to what I did for the last Sher Edling lawsuit, a checklist of the repeated wipeouts within these Amici Curiae briefs.
Just like in the 4 prior filings, Oreskes et al. include – in no particular order – the following in this boilerplate filing:
✓ the American Petroleum Institute “victory will be achieved” memos — Check. Citing Kert Davies’ Center for Climate Investigations’ ClimateFiles website just like they’ve done since the first brief.
✓ citation of “journalist” Amy Westervelt — Check. That Westervelt, who’s enslaved to Kert Davies for both the “reposition global warming” memos and to Davies for the “victory will be achieved” memos. That Westervelt, who Oreskes introduced at an interview (3:58 point here) as her “good friend and colleague.” Colleague.
✓ accusation of skeptic climate scientist Dr Willie Soon taking $1.2 million from ‘Big Oil’ — Check. That’s an utterly false accusation, outright disinformation, stemming from …… wait for it ……. Kert Davies, when he made his big media splash return in 2015. And as I described in my just-prior blog post, the same Davies who was ushered into the NY AG’s office mere days before that big splash, apparently to entice that office into launching their own “Exxon Knew”-style lawsuit.
✓ citation of a 2017 “Smoke & Fumes” report containing ‘proof’ that the oil industry knew for certain back in 1968 that the burning of their products caused global warming — Check. I haven’t mentioned this item in my prior dissections of the Oreskes et al. Friends of the Court briefs, but I did mention in my December 15, 2022 blog post how that very same “Smoke & Fumes” report ends up looking like outright disinformation when it completely omits how the 1968 Stanford report contained specific wording clearly showing it wasn’t certain at all whether burning fossil fuels was going to lead to warming or cooling. Who was the author of that 2017 ‘disinformation’ report. Carroll Muffett. That Muffett, seen in an effort to portray Exxon as corrupt alongside …… wait for it ……. Kert Davies. They’re one big, tiny happy little family.
✓ and, of course, the pièce de résistance, the supposedly ‘smoking gun’ industry “reposition global warming” memos which are falsely attributed to the Western Fuels Association “Information Council for the Environment” (“ICE)” public relations campaign. — Check.
It’s Oreskes’ genuine raison d’être for her second career in the “Clima-Change™” issue, she unequivocally proved that back when she got her first ongoing attention about her accusation in 2007, continuing bigger in 2008, repeating her one-trick pony accusation on up to the present time. She’s even taught her subordinate helper to dutifully regurgitate that same memo phrase (albeit instead citing…… wait for it ……. Kert Davies for the memo). Like I showed in the first Redux in this Friends of the Court series between the first brief and the Baltimore one. Once again in this D.C. version, we are presented with the identical massively dubious and essentially unsupportable assertion that the mere existence of the “reposition global warming” strategy phrase was proof that fossil fuel company executives displayed …
… a clear acknowledgement that global warming had previously been positioned and accepted as fact within the scientific community.
Wait. Nearly identical. We now have a new wrinkle right there in this latest D.C. filing. Look again at my pages 36-37 screencapture above — it’s missing the words “positioned and.” The first filing and second filings had them. The Minnesota filing was inexplicably and clumsily missing that section altogether – I detailed that blunder in my dissection of that filing. As I detailed in my dissection of the Hawaii filing, they put it back in and got the page numbers correct. The “positioned and” words are definitely there, too. So what’s up with the omission of those specific words in this latest filing?? They are nothing short of hyper-critical to establishing that an industry-wide conspiracy to “reposition global warming as theory rather than fact” existed.
Oh, one more thing here: ✓ same bone-headed mistake in this D.C. filing of attributing the “reposition global warming” phrase to a letter written by Dr Patrick Michaels, which I first pointed to in my dissection of the San Francisco brief — Check. Give Oreskes et al. credit and/or their inept law firm filing assistants for at least being consistent on that blunder.
But as I’ve shown throughout my GelbspanFiles blog – and show again right here – the “reposition global warming” memos were a rejected proposal (the main recipients tossed it into the trash) containing unsolicited name choices and unsolicited audience targeting suggestions, all capped by an overarching “reposition” directive too abstract to figure out. Thus – like I said in my Baltimore dissection – the fatal repeated blunder in these Oreskes et al. court briefs is that the specific ‘repositioning’ strategy was never a goal of the actual public relations campaign it was proposed to, a campaign so limited in scope that few people ever actually saw it. How could it possibly be established that the energy industry knowingly engaged in disinformation campaigns built on the cornerstone of that campaign if they never heard of it or its explicit instructions on how to undercut ‘accepted facts’ by repositioning them back down to a ‘theory appearance’? The notion that rejected, discarded proposals serve as evidence of subsequent sinister actions stemming from directives in the rejected proposals is ludicrous.
The definition of political suicide is repeating the same mistakes while hoping nobody notices.
So far, Naomi Oreskes gets away with this because the people who should notice if they actually did their jobs properly — mainstream media reporters — instead seem to have her on some kind of speed-dial short list for sycophant-style comments to put into articles about the way catastrophic “Clima-Change™” is the fault of Big Oil, e.g. this days old New York Times Hawaii wildfires/Hawaii “Exxon Knew” lawsuits article. The irony there is monumental, when it comes to her predictable bits about “climate change disinformation” campaigns. Imagine just how quickly she would install blocks to reporters who dare to ask whether her material on the “disinformation-campaign-that-contained-no-disinformation” is not actually outright disinformation itself … along with her apparently fabricated story about how she found out who the ‘merchants of doubt’ were. Imagine how much faster that blockage by Oreskes would be if reporters asked her how it possibly follows that any fossil fuel company official of any corporate status level had ever presented a clear acknowledgement that global warming had previously been positioned and accepted as fact within the scientific community” when her ‘smoking gun leaked memos evidence’ supposedly proving that turns out to be literally unsupportable … and if reporters asked whether she actually has any other evidence to prove her accusation.
She is immensely vulnerable on that point. If only influential people in power knew that. Case in point, Oreskes offered her standard Science paper schpiel (46:35 point of this Youtube video) at the June 21, 2023 Senate Budget Hearing, but when Senator Chuck Grassley noted the Sher Edling law firm is known to have accepted dark money, (55:15 point, significantly mispronouncing her name) he then asked her about her association with the firm – the one enslaved to ye olde “reposition global warming memos,” beginning with their City / County of San Mateo v Chevron lawsuits). Oreskes answered, “Yes, I have had the opportunity to talk about the case that I consulted on, San Mateo versus Chevron, where the people of San Mateo County have sued for redress because of the damages that county and the state of California is experiencing caused by sea level rise caused by climate change, caused by their product oil and gas.”
Smooth maneuver, admitting the law firm connection and then deftly changing the topic to an appeal of emotions about flooding, ‘climate-gone-wild,’ and evil corporations. However, “consulted on” … what, exactly?? She isn’t a climate scientist. Was her massively truncated description of what she provided to Sher Edling simply her not stating the whole truth of the matter? Was it willful disinformation?
Who knows where Senator Grassley was headed with that question? As I detailed in my May 25, 2021 blog post, her law firm retainership revelation is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg concerning her highly suspect involvement in the climate issue from start to finish, from 2003 to her apparently fabricated Science paper / attacked by ‘merchants of doubt’ narratives (plural!), to her days-old comments at the New York Times. Both Senator Grassley and the other GOP Senators missed one ripe opportunity to expose that fatal problem, which she practically handed to them on a silver platter.